Friday, July 31, 2009

Only Two Years...What Would You Do?

"You just happened to happen to me."

Two people on two separate occasions told me this. They quoted each other word for word. God has a wicked sense of humor.

One of them I met a little while ago while Salsa dancing and there was an instant ease between us that made me not think twice about giving him my number or hanging out with him and his friends. We started to hang out every few days and continue to meet at the local spots to dance.

We met for dancing, dinner and movies. There were walks through the park and great conversation. No pressure for romance, no pressure to make anything out of it. We agreed to just let whatever happens happen. I was enjoying it and thinking about the possibilities when we had a conversation that started like this:

"I need to tell you something. But it will change our relationship forever."

The creative mind in me instantly thought of everything. Marriage, drugs, lifestyle, etc. I could never fathom that the person who was quickly becoming my friend and maybe something else was dying.

"I have stage IV terminal cancer."

Nothing could have prepared me for that. Terminal? Two years? WTH?!?!?!

He was right. It did permanently change us. I am a lot of things and loyal to a fault is one of them. Having an extremely large heart and being a nurturer is another. I wonder what could of been...might have been...what could possibly be. Forming a relationship with someone who is terminally ill is like walking under a guillotine and waiting for it to fall.

One year. According to his doctor's schedule he has one year left. Is it fair to withdraw from someone over something that is beyond their control? Is it fair to get involved with someone when you know the outcome is not favorable? It was not a choice, no one chooses to die in their 30s. No one chooses to die with a 4 year old daughter who is too young to remember them.

Imagine...what would you feel if someone told you they wanted to spend their last year alive getting to know you better? I can't help but wonder what my lesson is in this. Something has to come out of this experience.

What would YOU do?

Peace & Blessings...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Letting Him Lead, Learning to Follow

Dancing has taught me that I did not know how to let a man lead. Salsa is all about the woman learning to follow. If he steps back, you step forward, if he lifts his arm, you turn. Don't watch your feet, trust your partner to lead you. Relax your arms and let him lead you through a series of intricate arm movements and spins, just keep your steps with your feet. When in doubt, back rock. If you do not learn to follow it looks awkward and both people stop dancing. It does not flow, there is no rhythm and no grace.

I remember my first Salsa class, "Just relax your arms. Let me lead. Just follow" my instructor said to me in his strong Cuban accent. I couldn't get it at first. What did he mean relax? I am relaxed! I couldn't make it flow, I couldn't make it pretty and graceful like I had seen other couples do on the dance floor.

Salsa is a lot like life.

I first learned a type of Salsa style called Casino or Casino de Rueda where couples dance in a circle with a caller and you are constantly changing partners. Like real life you can fake anything in a group, the same is true for Salsa - following in a group is easy to fake because you know the steps and what the man is going to do. But the minute you step out of the group and start to dance freestyle with a partner is when the truth comes out. When people can see that you can not follow.

But when you surrender...the minute it clicks and you "Just relax and follow" it becomes a beautiful dance between two people. When you have a strong lead and a great follower people will stop to watch. They will admire the fluidity that comes through. It becomes a beautiful thing when you are letting him lead as you learn to follow...

I get it now.! I was dancing recently to a great live salsa band and my partner and I was in a groove. My partner was enjoying the music so much he spun me out too far and I followed. He had to come and get me.

He looks up and says in a strong Cuban accent "Hey, where did you go?" My answer? "You spun me out there. I was just following!" We both laughed and continued to enjoy the music and dance to a live version of this song:

Peace & Blessings...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I Dance...

I've had many people ask questions about my choice to take up dance so late in life. They say "Yeah, that's cool" while giving me the side-eye and indifferent body language when they hear my answers.

Typically as Blacks/African-Americans/Afro-Americans (whichever you prefer) we do not delve into other cultures. We typically have no interest in learning about other people. I have always had a curiosity of other cultures, other languages and other people. Growing up I wanted to take dance, gymnastics, girl's scouts...all the things that wold require you to meet other people from other backgrounds. Unfortunately, growing up as an only child with a single mother there was no "extra" money to do any of those things. Money became even tighter after I started college and non-existent throughout my marriage.

Finally when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to take dance, ballet, jazz, African, modern and that opportunity led to free Salsa lessons which led to free Bachata and Meringue. Yep, all of it is free!

Now as I get deeper into dance and want to improve my technique I think I will finally pay for an advanced class. That is only after two years of dance. Why do I dance? Because I finally get to fulfill a long-term desire and a longed for dream.

Dancing has placed incredible people in my path that I would not have met otherwise. And above all else...even when I am having a horrific day (like last Wednesday) I can go to a free Salsa event and the minute a man (many of whom I have never met) leads me into that first turn, a smile magically appears on my face and I forget all the B.S. in life and just enjoy that moment for every uplifting feeling it brings.

THAT is why I Dance!

Peace & Blessings...

Monday, July 13, 2009

What do you NEED? A Question Asked & Answered

I made an attempt to answer the questions "Who are YOU?" and "What do YOU want?" in this post. After posting my answers, I received this comment:

if i might ask
what do you need? - Sharon

It caught me off guard but after thinking about it, she was right. If I know who I am and what I want I should have no problems figuring out what I need, right? Wrong!

I immediately thought about needs vs. wants and made my initial list.

I need:

- a roof over my head.
- food in my pantry.
- to pay my bills.
- to fix that leak under my sink before the cabinets mold
- to fix my creaky stairs
- a better paying job

I need...none of those things.

Really, with the exception of the first two I do not NEED to have those things, but would like to have them.

I need to be loved, to be touched/held/entangled with a person who enjoys doing so. I need to wake up every day feeling like my life has a purpose and not wander around aimlessly in a dull routine that feeds my anger and frustration.

I need to see the wagging tail of my furbaby and the antics he comes up with while throwing his unstuffed toys around the house.

I need to laugh at least daily because it makes me feel good.

I need to know that beyond all else, God has a plan for me and has my back when NO ONE seems to understand or care.

I need to know there is something more to this thing we call "life" and the struggle that goes with it.

"What do you NEED?"

Who knew that question would be the most difficult to answer...

Peace & Blessings...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Diggin' Raheem DeVaughn's new CD...It's FREE!

How many artists give their stuff away for free? Really, think about it. In the famous words of Katt Williams "Go ahead...I'll wait!" LOL!

I first mentioned Mr. DeVaughn in my Love List post here. He is one of the artists in my constant Neo-Soul rotation. (Remember when it was simply referred to as R&B?)

Mr. Raheem DeVaughn is one of my favorite artists and he is giving away his new CD for FREE via download. At first I was a little skeptical but after signing up on his new web site you will receive a link that absolutely lets you download his new CD The Art of Noise absolutely free. The 19 free tracks are even accompanied with the cover art.

I must admit a couple of cuts on the album are not my cup of tea, but there are tunes true to Raheem's style that have me hitting the repeat button. A few notables include his remake of Al B. Sure's Night and Day which would be extreme if he would stop talking in the end (still love you Raheem :). There are a few slow cuts Insomnia and Lay Awhile that made my slow jam list and a few bob your head neo-soul cuts that are well worth listening to.

With the price tag of free it is one of the best deals out right now. What do you have to loose?

Download it here.

Peace & Blessings...